Abbildungen der Seite

in truth an accurate delineation, drawn with provision of the constitution. That instrument a bold band, of a great cousolidated em. expressly provides that “the constitution, pire one and indivisible ;" and under and laws of the United States which shall be whatever specious form its powers may be made in pursuance thereof, shall be the sumasked, it is, in fact, the worst of all despot- preme law of the land, anything in the constiisms, in which the spirit of an arbitrary tution or laws of any state to the contrary Government is suffered to pervade institutions notwithstanding." professing to be free. Such was not the Here it will be seen that a law of Congress, Government for which our fathers fought and as such, can have no validity unless made bled, and offered up their lives and fortunes as“ in pursuance of the constitution.". An a willing sacrifice. Such was not the Govern- unconstitutioual act is, therefore, null and ment which the great and patriotic men who void, and the only poiut that can arise in this called the Union into being, in the plenitude case is, whether to the federal Government, or of their wisdoin framed. Such was not the any departmeut thereof, has been exclusively Government which the fathers of the republi- reserved the right to decide authoritatively can faith, led on by the apostle of American for the states this question of constitutionality. liberty, promulgated and successfully irain. If this be so, to which of the departments, it tained in 1798, and by which they produced may be asked, is this right of final judgment the great political revolution effected at that given If it be to Congress, then is Congress auspicious era. To a Government based on not only elevated above the other departench principles South Carolina has not been a ments of the federal Government, but it is voluntary.'party, and to such a Government put above the constitutivo itself. This, she never will give her assent. The records however, the President himself has publicly of our history do, indeed, afford the prototype and solemnly denied, claimiog ansi exercising, of these sentimeuts, which is to be found in as is known to all' the world, the right to the recorded opinions of those who, when the refuse to execute acts of Congress and solemn constitution was framed, were in favour of a treaties, even after they had received the “ firm pational Government,” jo which the sanction of every department of the federal states should stand in the same relation to the Goveromeut. That ihe executive possesses Union, that the colonies did towards the this right of deciding finally aud exclusively mother country. The jouruals of the conven- as to the validity of acts of Congress, will tion and the secret bistory of the debates will hardly be pretended--and that it belongs to show that this party did propuse to secure to the judiciary, except so far as may be nethe federal Government an absulute supre- cessary to the decisions of questions, whicb macy over the states, by giving them a nega may iccidentally come before them, iu" cases tive upon their laws; but the same history of law and equity,” has been denied by none also teaches us that all these propositions were more strongly than by the President himself, rejected, and a federal Government was finally who, on a memorable occasion, refused to established, recoguising the sovereignty of the acknowledge the bidding authority of the states, and leaving the constitutioual compact federal court, aud claimed for himself, and on the footing of all other compacts between has exercised the right of enforcing the laws,

parties baviog no common superior." not according to their judgmeat, but “ bis

It is the natural and necessary consequence own understanding of them." And yet, when of the principles thus authoritatively an- it serves the purpose of bringing odium upon Dounced by the President, as constituting the South Carolina, “ his vative state," the Prevery basis of uur political system, that the sident has no hesitation in regarding the atfederal Government is unlimited and supreme; tempt of a state to release herself from the being the exclusive judge of the extent of its control of the federal judiciary, in a matter own powers, the laws of Congress sanctioned affecting her sovereign rights, as a violation by the executive aud the judiciary, whether of the constitution. It is unnecessary to enter passed in direct violation of the constitution into au elaborate examination of the subject. and rights of the states or not, are the “su- It surely cannot admit of a doubt ihat, by the preme law of the land." Hence it is that the declaration of independence, the several colo. President obviously considers the words, nies became “ free, sovereign, and inde“ made in pursuance of the constitution,” as pendent states ;" and our political history were surplusage; aod, therefore, when he will abundantly show, that at every subsequent professes io recite the provision of the consti- change in their condition up to the formation tution on this subject, he 'states that our of our present coustitution, the statespreserved “ social compact in express terms declares their sovereignty. The discovery of this new that the laws of the United States, its consti- feature in our system-hat the states exist tution, aod the treaties made under it, are the only as members of the union--that before supreme law of the land;" and speaks through the declaration of independence we were kuown out of “the explicit supremacy given to the ouly as “Uoited Colonies "-and that even laws of the Union over those of the states"- under the articles of coufederation, the states as if a law of Congress was of itself supreme, were considered as forming “ collectively one while it was necessary to the validity of a nation," without any right of refusing to subtreaty that it should be made in pursuance of mit to "any decision of Congress "-was rethe constitution. Such, however, is not the ferred to the President and his immediate pre

decessor. To the latter " belongs the inven. | which so many sovereign states agreed to tiön, and upon the foriner will fortunately fall exercise their sovereign powers conjointly the evils of reducing it to practice.

upun certain objects of external concern in South Carolina holds the principles now which they are equally interested, such as promulgated by the Presideut (as they must war, peace, commerce, foreign pegotiations, always be held by all woo c'aim to be sup- and Indian trade ; and upon all other subjects porters of the rights of the states), as contra of civil governmeut they were to exercise dicted by the letter of the constitution-unau-It'eir sovereiguty separately. For the conthorised by its spirit-inconsistent with every venient conjoint exercise of the sovereignty principle on which it was founred destructive of the states, there must of necessity be some of all the objects for which it was framed"commou agency or functionary. The agency utterly incompatible with the very existence of is the federal Goveroment. It represents the the states; aud absolutely fatal to the rights confederated States, and executes their joint and liberties of the people. South Caroliua bas will, as expressed in the compact. The powers so solemnly and repeatedly expressed to Con- ; of this Government are wholly derivative. It gress and the world the principles which she possesses no more inherent sovereigoty than believes to constitute the very pillars of the an incorporated town, or any other great corpoconstitution, that it is deemed unnecessary to rale body-it is a political corporation, and, do more at this time than barely present a like all corporations, it looks for its powers summary of those great fundamenial truths to an exterior source. That source is the which she believes can never be subverted states. without the inevitable destruction of the liber- Suuth Carolina claims that by the Declara. ties of the people and of the union itself. tion of Independence she became, and has South Carolina has never claimed (as it is ever sioce continued, a free, sovereign, and asserted by the President) the right of “re-independent state. That, as a sovereign pealin, at pleasure all the revenue laws of the state, she has the inherent power to do all union," much less the right of " repealiog the acts which by the law of ations any, the constitution itself, and laws passed to give prince or potentate may of right do. That, it etfect which have never been alleged to he like all independent states, she neither bas, unconstitutional.” She claims only the right nor ought she to suffer any otber restraint to judge of infractions of the constitutionat upon her sovereign will and pleasure, than compact, in violation of the reserved rights of those bigb mural obligarioŋs under which all the state, and of arresting the progress of prioces and states are bound before God and usurpation within her own limits, and when, man to perform their solemn pledges. The as in the tariffs of 1828 and 1832, revenue inevitable conclusion from what has been and protection-coustitutional and unconsti. said, therefore, is, that as in all cases of comtutional objects have been so mixed up toge- pact between independent sovereigns, where ther, tbat it is found impossible to draw the from the very nature of things there can be line of discrimina ion-she has no alternative no common judge or umpire, each sovereiga hut to consider the whole as a system, uncon- has a right“ to judge as well of infractions as stitutional in its character, and to leave it to of the modes and measures of redress," sv in those who have " woven the web, to unravel the present controversy between South Carothe threads."

lina and the federal Government, it belongs South Carolina insists that she appeals to solely to ber, by her delegates in solemn con. the whole political history of our country in vention assembled, to decide whether the support vf her position that the constitution federal compact be violated, and what remedy of the United States is a compact between the state ought to pursue. Suuth Carolina, suvereign states that it creates a confede. therefore, cannot, and will not, yield to any rated republic, pot having a single feature of departments of the federal Governmeot-a patiouality in its foundation—that the people right which enters into the essence of all of the several states as distinct political com- sovereignty, and without which it would bemuvities ratified the constitution, each state come " a bauble and a game.” actiog for itself, aud binding its own citizens, Such are the doctrines which Suuth Caro. and put those of any other state, the act of lina bas, through her convention, solemnly ratification declaring it to be binding on the promulgated to the world, and by them she states so ratifying-the states are its authors ; will stand or fall; sych were the principles their power created it; their voices clothed it promulgated by Virginia in 1798, and which with authority ; the Government which it then received the sanction of those great men formed is composed of their agents, and the whose recorded sent'ments have come down to univn of which it is the bond, is a uniou of us as a light to our feet and a lamp to our states, and not of individuals that as regards path. It is Virginia, and not Souih Carolina, the foundation and extent of its power, the who speaks, when it is said that she “ views Guverument of the United States is strictly the powers of the federal Government as re. what its vame implies, a federal Government sulting from the compact to which the states

- that the states are as sovereigo now as they are parties, as limited by the plain sense and were prior to the entering into the compact- intention of the instrument constitutiog that that the federal constitution is a confederation compact-as no further valid than they are in the nature of a treaty-or an alliance bý authorised by the grants enumerated by that

compact : and that in case of a deliberate, plaioly and intentionally authorised by the palpable, and dangerous exercise of other constitution, shall be exercised within their powers not granted by the same compact, the respective territories." states who are parties thereto have the right, It is on these great and essential truths that and are iu duty bound, to interpuse for arresto South Carolina has now acred. Judging for ing the progress of the evil, and for maintain- herself as a sovereigo state, she has pronounced ing withiu their respecitve limits the authori- the protecting system, in all its branches, to ties, rights, and liberties appertaining to be a gross, deliberate, and palpable violathem."

tion of the constitutional compact; and have It is Kentucky who declared, in 1799, ing exhausted every other means of redress, speaking in the explicit language of Thomas she has, in the exercise of her sovereigo rights Jefferson, that “ the priuciples and construc- as one of the parties to that compact, and in tion contended for by members of the state the performance of a high and sacred duty, legislatures (the very same now maintained by interposed for arresting the evil of usurpation the President), that the general goveroment within her own limits, by declaring these acts is the exclusive judge of the extent of the to be “ null, void, and no law, and taking powers delegated to it, stop nothing short of measures of her own that they shall not be despotism-since the discretion of those who enforced within her limits." South Carolina administer the government, and not the cou- has not “ assumed ” what could be considered stitution, would be the measure of their as at all doubtful, when she asserts “ that the powers. That the several states wbo formed its in question were in reality intended for the instrument, being sovereign and indepen- the protection of manufactures ;” that their dent, have the unquestionable right to judge“ operation is uuequal ;” that "the amount of the infraction, and that a nullification by received by them is greater than is required those sovereignties of all unauthorised acts by the wants of the Government;" and finally, done under colour of that instrument is the " that the proceeds are to be applied to objects: rightful remedy."

unauthorised by the constitution,” These · It is the great apostle of American liberty facts are notorious, these objects openly bimself who has consecrated these principles, avowed. The President, without instituting and left them as a legacy to the American any inquisition into motives, has himself dis people, recorded by his own hand. It is by covered, and publicly denounced them; and him that we are instructed* that to the con- his officer of finance is even now devising stitutional compact“ each state acceded as a measures intended, as we are told, to correct state, and is an integral party, its co-states these acknowledged abuses. It is a vaig and forming as to itself the other party," that idle dispute ahoui words, to ask whether this « they alone being parties to the compact, are right of state interposition may be most prosolely authorised to judge in the last resort of perly styled a constitutional, a sovereign, or & the powers exercised under it; Congress be reserved right. la calling this right constituing not a party, but merely the creature of the tional, it could never have been intended to compact;" that it becomes a sovereign state claim it as a right granted by, or derived from, to submit to undelegated, and consequently the constitution, but it is claimed as consistent unlimited power, in no man, or body of men with its genius, its tetter, and its spirit; it upon earth; that where powers are assumed being not only distioctly understood, at the which have not been delegated (the very case time of ratifying the constitution, but exnow before us) a nullification of the act is the pressly provided for in the iustrument itself

, rightful remedy ; that every state has a natu- that all sovereign rights, not agreed to be ral right in cases not within the compact exercised conjointly, should be exerted sepa(casus non foederis) to nullify of their own rately by the states. Virgiuia declared, in authority all assumption of powers by others reference to the right asserted in the resoluwithin their limits, and that without this right tions of 1798, above quoted, even after bar; they would be under the dominion, absolute ing fully and accurately re-examined and and uulimited, of whomsoever might exercise reconsidered these resolutions, « that she the right of judgment for them ; and that in found it to be her indispensable duty to case of acts being passed by Congress“ so adhere to the same, as founded in truth, as palpably against the constitution as to amount consonant with the constitution, and as conto an uudisguised declaration, that the com- ducive to its welfare ; and Mr. Madison pact is not meant to be the measure of the himself asserted them to be perfectly powers of the general Government, but that it stitutional and conclusive." It is wholly will proceed to exercise over the states all immaterial, however, by what name this right powers whatsoever, it would be the duty of may be called, for if the constitution be a the states

to declare the acts void, and of no compact to which the states are parties," if force, and that each should take measures of " acts of the federal Government are no its own for providing that neither such acts, further valid than they are authorised by the nor any other of the general Government not grants enumerated in that compact," then

we have the authority of Mr. Madison himself * See original draught of the Kentucky re- for the inevitable conclusion that it is “a solutions, in the hand-writing of Mr. Jeffer- plain principle illustrated by common praca son, lately published by his grandson. tice, and essential to the nature of compacts,


that when resort can be had to do tribunal of degraded and dependent colonies ; but superior to the authority of the parties, the that our bond of union is formed by muparties themselves must be the rightful judge tual sympathies and common interests. The in the last resort whether the bargaio made true answer to this objection has been given bas been pursued or violated." "I be consti. by Mr. Madison, which he says, " It does not tution," continues Mr. Madison, " was formed follow however, that because the states, as soby the sanction of the states, given by each in vereign parties to the constitutional compact, its sovereigo capacity; the states, then, heing must uliimately decide whether it has been parties to the constitutional compact, and in violated, that such a decisivn ought to be intheir sovereign capacity, it follows of neces- terposed, either in a hasty manner, or on sity that there can be no tribunal above their doubtful and inferior occasions. Even in the authority to decide in the last resort wbether case of ordinary conventions between different the compact made by them be violated ; aod, nations, it is always laid down that the breach consequeutly, that, as the parties to it, they must be both wilful and material to justify an must themselves decide in the last resort such application of the rule. But in the case of an questions as may be of sufficient maguitude intimate and constitutional union, like that of to require their interposition." If this right of the United States, it is evident that the indoes not exist in the several states, then it is terpositiou of the parties, in their sovereign clear that the discretion of Congress, and not capacity, can be called for by occasions only the constitution, would be the measure of deeply and essentially affecting the vital printheir powers ; and this, says Mr. Jefferson, ciples of their political system.” Experience would amount to the “ seizing the rights of demonstrates ibat ihe danger is not that a the states, and consolidatiog them in the state will resort to her sovereign rights too hands of the general Government, with a frequently, or on light and trivial occasions, power assumed to bind the states not only in but that she may shrink from asserting them cases madej federal, but in all cases whatso- 'as often as may be necessary. ever; which would be to surrender the form It is maintained by Souih Carolina, that of Government we have chosen, to live under according to the true spirit of the constitution, one deriviog its power from its own will." it becomes Congress, in all emergencies like

We bold it to be impossible to resist the the present, either to remove the evil by leargument, that the several states, as sovereign gislation, or to solicit of the states the call of parties to the compact, must possess the power, a convention, and that on a failure to obtain in case of "gross, deliberate, and palpable by the consent of three-fourths of all the states violation of the constitution, to judge each for ao amendment, giving the disputed power, it itself, as well of the infraction as the mode and must be regarded as never having been inmeasure of redress," or ours is a consolidated tended to be given. These principles bave Guvernment without limitatiou of powers,'

," been distiuctly recognised by the President a submission to which Mr. Jefferson has bimself, in his message to Congress at the solemnly pronounced to be a greater evil than commencement of the present session, and disunion itself. If, to horrow the language they seem only to be impracticable absurdities of Madison's Report, " the deliberate exercise when asserted by South Carolina, or made apof dangerous powers palpably withheld by the plicable to her existing controversy with the constitution, could not justify the parties to it federal Government. in interposing even so far as to arrest the But it seems that South 'Carolipa receives progress of the evil, and thereby to preserve from the President no credit for her sincerity, the constitution itself, as well as to provide for when it is declared, through her chief magisthe safety of the parties to it, there would be trate, that " she sincerely and anxiously an end to all relief from usurped powers, and seeks and desires the submission of her a direct subversion of the rights specified or grievances, to a convention of all the states." recognised under all the state constitutions, as * The only alternative (says the President) well as a plain denial of the fundamental prin- which she presents, is the repeal of all the ciple on which our independence itself was acts for raising revenue; leaving the Governdeclared. The only plausible objection that ment without the means of support, or an can be urged against this right, so indispen- acquiescence in the dissolution of our union." sable to the safety of the states, is that it may South Carolina has presented no such alterbe abused. But this danger is believed to be natives. If the President had read the docualtogether imaginary. So long as our union ments which the convention caused to be is felt as a blessing and this will be just so forwarded to him for the express purpose of long as the federal Government shall confine making koown her wishes and ber views, he its operation within the acknowledged limits would have found that South Carolina asks po of the charter-there will be no temptation for more than that the tariff should be reduced to any state to interfere with the harmonious the revenue standard : and has distinctly exoperation of the system. There will exist pressed her willingness that“ an amount of the strongest motives to induce forbearance, duties substantially uniform should be levied and none to prompt to aggression on either upon protected as well as unprotected articles, side, so soon as it shall come to be universally sufficient to raise the revenue necessary to felt' and acknowledged that the states do meet the demands of the Government for not stand to the union in the relation constitutional purposes.” He would have

found, io the exposition put forth by the con- less that they will be driven from the vindicavention itself, a distinct appeal to our sister tion of their rights by the intimidation of the states for the call of a conveution; and the danger of domestic discord, and threats of expression of au entire willinguess on the part lawless violence. The brave men wbo have of South Carolina to submit the coutroversy thrown themselves into the breach in defence to that tribunal. Even at the very moment of the rights and liberties of their country, are when he was indulging in these unjust and not to be driven from their holy purpose by injurious imputations upon the people of such means. Even udmerited obloquy, and South Carolina, and their lare highly-respected death itself, have no terrors for him who feels chief magistrate, a resolution had actually and knows that he is engaged in the performbeen passed through both branches of our ance of a sacred dury. The people of South legislature, demanding a call of that very con- Caroliva are well aware that, bowever passion vention to which he declares that she had no and prejudice may obtain for a season the desire that an appeal should be made. mastery of the public miod, reason and justice

It does not become the dignity of a sove must, sovner or later, reassert their empire; reign state to notice, in the spirit which and that, whatever may be the event of this might be considered as belonging to the occa- 1 contest, posterity will do justice to their sion, the uuwarrantable imputations-in which motives, and to the spotless purity and devoted the President has thought proper to indulge patriotism with which they have entered into in relation to South Carolina, the proceedings av arduous and most unequal conflict, and tbe of her citizens and constituted authorities. unfaltering courage with which, by the blesHe has noticed, only to give it countenance, sing of Heaven, they will maintain it. that miserable slauder which imputes the The whole argument, so far as it is designed noble stand that our people have taken in de at this time to enter into it, is now disposed fence of their rights and liberties to a faction of; aud it is necessary to advert to some pas. instigated by the efforts of a few ambitious sages in the proclamation which cannot be leaders, who have got up an excitement for passed over in silence. The President distheir own personal aggrandisement. The tinctly intimates that it is bis determination motives and characters of those who have to exert the right of putting down the oppusi. been subjected to these unfounded imputa- tion of South Caroliva to the tariff hy force of tions are beyond the reach of the President of arms. He believes himself invested with the United States. The sacrifices that they power to do this under that provision of the have made, and difficulties and trials through constitution which directs bin “ to take care which they may have yet to pass, will leave do that the laws be faithfully executed.” Now, doubt as to the disinterested motives and no- if by this it was only meant to be asserted ble impulses of patriotism and honour by that, under the laws of Congress now in force, which they are actuated. Could ihey bave the President would feel himself bound to aid been induced to separate their own personal the civil tribunals in the mapuer therein preinterests from those of the people of South scribed, supposing such laws to be constituCarolina, and have consented to abandon tional, no just exception could be taken to their duty to the state, no one knows better this assertion of executive duty. But if, as is than the President himself that they might manifestly intended, the President sets up the have been honoured with the highest maui- claim to judge for himself in what manner festations of public regard, and, perhaps, in- the laws are to be enforced, and feels himself stead of being the objects of vituperation, at liberty to call forth the inilitia, and even might even now have been basking in the the military and naval forces of ihe union, sunshine of executive favour. This topic agaiost the state of South Carolina, ber conis alluded to merely for the purpose of stituted authorities and citizens, then it is guarding the people of our sister states clear that he assumes a power pot ouly not against the fatal delusion that South Caro- conferred on the executive by the constitution, lina has assumed her present position un- but which belongs to no despot upon earth der the influence of a temporary excite exercisiog a less unlimited authority than the ment, and to warn them that it has been Autocrat of all the Russias; an authority the result of the slow but steady progress of which, if submitted to, would at once reduce public opinion for the last ten years; that the free people of these United States to a state it is the act of the people themselves, taken of the most abject and degraded slavery. But io conformity with the spirit of resolutions the President has no power whatsoever to repeatedly adopted in their primary assem execute the law except in the made and manblies, and the solemo determination of the ner prescribed by the laws themselves. On legislature, publicly announced more than looking into these laws, it will be seen that he two years ago. Let them uot so far deceive has no shallow or semblance of autbority to themselves on this subject as to persevere in execute any of the threats which he has thrown a course which must in the end inevitably out against the good people of South Carolina. produce a dissolution of the union, under the The Act of 28. February, 1795, gives the vain expectation that the great body of the President authority to call forth the militia people of South Carolina, listening to the in case of an invasion by a foreiga nation councils of the President, will ackuowledge or lodian tribe.”. By the 21 section of that their error, or retrace their steps ; and still Act, it is provided that “ whenever the laws

« ZurückWeiter »